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6 Reasons To Use Plastic Spherical Bearings

6 Reasons to Consider Plastic

When starting work on a new project that requires motion control, one of the most important considerations is what bearings to use.

It's easy to fall back on what you've been using for years instead of rocking the boat with new ideas or concepts. You might be more inclined to stick with bulky, robust steel or bronze bearings without thinking about the upsides of plastic bearings. However, in most applications, plastic spherical bearings deliver a better performance than their metal counterparts.

General questions typically asked when considering which bearings are right for an application include: what type of bearings will operate seeminglessly in tough environments; what type of bearings can withstand a wide range of loads, speeds and temperatures; and what type of bearings will possess the necessary features to prevent premature failure?

Here are six reasons why design engineers should consider using plastic spherical bearings:

  1. Self-lubricating: Plastic spherical bearings do not require any external lubricants, making them completely maintenance-free. Self-lubricating bearings are an ideal solution for where dirt and dust can become embedded in the lubricant, which would cause performance issues.

  2. Reduced cost: Plastic spherical bearings can reduce costs up to 40% without sacrifying quality. Not only are they less expensive, but maintenance costs are significantly reduced.

  3. Vibration dampening: Plastic spherical bearings eliminate the excess noise and chattering associated with metal bearings. For applications where noise is an issue, such as in the medical industry, plastic bearings are ideal.

  4. Corrosion- and chemical-resistance: Unlike metal or bronze bearings, plastic bearings will never corrode and are impervious to most chemicals. They can be used in wash-down, salt water and caustic applications.

  5. Lightweight: Plastic spherical bearings are 80% lighter than steel. This offers many advantages in a wide range of applications.

  6. Predictable lifespan and wear rates: With igus®' Expert System, users can enter their maximum loads, speeds, temperatures, and shaft and housing materials, which then prompts the system to calculate the appropriate plastic bearing and its expected lifetime based on decades of real-world testing.
Plastic spherical bearings can replace steel or bronze bearings in almost any application. They not only cost less, but also reduce maintenance and installation costs. By making the switch to plastic bearings, you can stop worrying about bearing failure and concentrate your energy on more important aspects of the application.

Plastic spherical bearings vs. metal Figure 1: Plastic spherical bearings last longer and will never corrode like metal or bronze types.

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